Believe it or not, the health of your eyelids can be a critical factor in your vision and the health of your eyes. The eyelids are designed to protect your eyes and keep them healthy as well. The eyelids are responsible for spreading the tear film. They also rejuvenate the tear film by helping to eliminate dust, debris and old tears as a new tear is produced. The eyelids house numerous oil glands whose purpose is to place a thin layer of oil over the tear film. This film reduces friction while blinking and slows tear film evaporation. The eyelids can become unhealthy however due to overgrowth of bacteria and skin mites in the eyelashes, from chronic inflammation with acne rosacea and from the build-up of dandruff on the eyelashes.
Eyelid dandruff and waste products from bacteria can fall into the tears causing inflammation. Clogged oil glands (Meibomian glands) leads to insufficient oil release and more tear evaporation.
Simple treatments you can do at home include using hot washcloth soaks (ideal temperature of 110 degrees Fahrenheit), eyelid cleansers or baby shampoo to reduce bacteria and tea tree oil shampoo to eliminate skin mites (demodex). To help jumpstart the process we recommend a treatment called Thermal Therapy with Expression. Done in our clinic, this involves heating the eyelids with a warming device then manually express-ing the Meibomian glands to get rid of stubborn clogging. The effects of just one treatment can last up to 6 months with improved dry eye symptoms. For patients with more severe symptoms and especially for those with acne rosacea we recommend IPL (Intense Pulsed Light Therapy). This treatment can rejuvenate Meibomian glands that are severely damaged and restore normal oil balance to the eyes. It can reduce inflammation and findings of rosacea in general.
Dr. Priscilla Krinkey is spearheading our treatments for dry eye disease and this is a focus of her practice. We offer a number of other products that can also help to improve your eyelid health. Feel free to ask us any questions for more help!